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Tuesday
Mar272012

Meditation - Nadi Shodana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Nadi Shodana - Alternate Nostril Breathing

Nadi Shodana is one of the most popular and effective pranayama practices to be used before concentration/meditation. 
 The practice controls the flow of breath and vital energy (prana) to the brain and has a very calming and balancing effect.

 Both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine place great significance on keeping the channels of the body and mind clear and consider it vital to our wellbeing.

According to many Tantric texts, the human body contains 72,000 nadis that move prana to every cell. Some are wide and rushing and others are a mere trickle. When this system flows freely, we are vital and healthy and when it becomes weak or congested, we struggle with poor mental and physical health. The practices of hatha yoga are so effective because they strengthen the flow of prana in our bodies, invigorating the current so that it carries away obstructions that block the free flow of energy.

Hand Position

Bring the thumb of your right hand to a third of the way down the right side of your nose.. you will find a small indent.. if you press here gently it will block the air from flowing through your right nostril.  Bring your ring finger a third of the way down the left side of your nose and this will block the airflow on the leftside.  Index finger and middle finger can rest in between your eyebrows or curled in towards the palm of your hand.  This hand position is known as deer mudra and directs the energy in a positive way.

The Practice

Come into a comfortable meditation position (cross legged, kneeling, sitting on a chair is fine) and most importantly be sure that your posture is steady and comfortable.  First become aware of your natural, easy breathing in through the nostrils and out through the nostrils (simple breath awareness).

Close your mouth and be sure to keep your tongue and jaw relaxed.

Inhale through both nostrils    Exhale through both nostrils

Lightly place the pad of the thumb on your nose just to the right and below the bridge; lightly place the pads of your ring and little fingers on the corresponding flesh on the left side of your nose. Gently pressing with the ring and little fingers to close the left nostril, exhale fully through the right. Then inhale fully through the right, close it with the thumb, release the left nostril, and exhale through it. Inhale through the left nostril, close it with the fingers, release the right nostril, and exhale through it. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana. 

The Benefits

Calms anxiety

Relief from stress

Grounding the mind

Clearing the energy channels and encouraging  flow of vital energy

Enhancing mental concentration and clarity

Alternate nostril breathing can also be practiced mentally as you visualise the breath entering and leaving the alternate nostrils.

Iyengar tells us that the blood receives a larger supply of oxygen than in other types of breathing practices.  The nerves are calmed and purified, and the mind becomes still and lucid.  Its practice keeps the body warm, destroys diseases, gives strength and brings serenity. 

BKS Iyengar – Light on Pranayama

How Alternate Nostril Breathing Works

It balances the opposite energies in the body, in a very similar way to the Chinese theory of yin and yang.

One nostril is cooling, one is heating

One has a male energy, the other has female.

Breathing through one nostril stimulates the left hemisphere of the brain and the other nostril stimulates the right.

 

Please come and join us to experience nadi shodana and other forms of meditation and pranayama in the Barn. 

Monday morning - 12pm to 1pm

Tuesday evening - 6:45pm to 7:45pm 

The Tuesday evening meditation flows into our weekly Kirtan group which you are welcome to join

 

Tracey Cramond   BWY Dip

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